Populists and Newcomers Fared Well in Latvia’s Elections, but Will They Govern?

Nils Ushakovs, leader of the pro-Russian Harmony party, with his wife and son, cast their ballots at a polling station during Latvia’s parliamentary elections, Riga, Latvia, Oct. 6, 2018 (Photo by Sergey Melkonov for Sputnik via AP Images).
Nils Ushakovs, leader of the pro-Russian Harmony party, with his wife and son, cast their ballots at a polling station during Latvia’s parliamentary elections, Riga, Latvia, Oct. 6, 2018 (Photo by Sergey Melkonov for Sputnik via AP Images).

The headlines coming out of Latvia’s Oct. 6 parliamentary elections suggested that, as elsewhere in the world, populism is on the rise in the small Baltic nation. The anti-establishment KPV LV party was one of the big winners, along with the pro-Russian Harmony party. But in Latvia’s fragmented political system, no party is guaranteed a spot in the ruling coalition. Agnia Grigas, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and the author of “The Politics of Energy and Memory between the Baltic States and Russia,” among other books, breaks down the election results in an email interview with WPR. […]

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